“Is that my knee giving out – or did I just pull a muscle when tossing and turning and letting my leg out to get some fresh air in bed last night?” I wondered and asked myself this past May. At first, I thought – it must be a muscle pull . . . until I didn’t think that. Two weeks later, my leg went out on a frequent trip to the bathroom in the middle of the night. I know, I’m dating myself here. The next morning I was barely able to navigate the staircase going to the first floor of my Cape Cod style home. I was in big trouble.
As I hugged the walls that morning trying to get from point A to point B – I realized there was something terribly wrong and I called my primary care physician. Unfortunately he wasn’t available but a resident agreed to see me later that day.
I ventured into Boston with plenty of time to spare – due to the extended length of time everything was taking me. I parked the care in Handicap section using my “temporary” rear view window hanger and proceeded with caution to the door to enter the hospital. I had what seemed like a quarter mile journey to his office and I entered cautiously into an open area with a curtain to have my vitals checked and then onto the exam room – holding the bar along the hallway as I took baby steps to get there.
The Resident physician had me lie down on a table and asked me to bend my knee up (that hurt) the side to side (that hurt – but not so much). He had a concerned look on his face and asked me if I could stay to have X-rays taken. I said “yes,” and he left the room briefly and returned with my PCP Dr. Loo. I went through the same exercises and there seemed to be a look of concern on Dr. Loo’s face and he suggested I make myself available the following day for a possible MRI.
“Come on . . .” - is all I said to myself. I was headed for Cape Cod that night with two of my three children and we had planned to spend a long weekend. Up I went to radiology where I had an x-ray that the results would be “rushed” so I would know whether to head south or not later that evening.
I waited until 8:30 pm and had the kids load up the car and we headed to the Cape. At 9:13 pm, I got the call saying “Nancy, we do need you to come in for an MRI tomorrow – probably at the end of the day – because we found what we think is avascular neurosis in your right hip.” The plan was to call again in the morning and go up when the MRI was scheduled. Being the good patient that I am, I did just that
and returned to the cape late Friday afternoon again.
Monday morning I got the news that in fact both of my hips were in need of total hip replacements due in large part to the steroids I had taken when I underwent an emergency liver transplant in May of 2005. I was given the steroids as treatment to two rejection episodes I had while hospitalized post-transplant. What cures one health challenge -- creates another. Just listen to the myriad of side effect warnings during every pharmaceutical commercial.
In sharing the latest trials and tribulations of my own health roller coaster during the past 11 years, my friend suggested that I simply needed to be a patient again in order to “keep up on” my topic of choice to speak and write about the highs and lows of being a patient. Somehow, it seems I’m never out of material to take the perspective of the patient. My memory serves me quite well – a good and bad thing -- depending on how you look at it.
I told her I know that . . . and “Hip Hip Hooray for me!” We both laughed and in true – how to make lemonade when life throws lemons at you – I’m making the best of it. I purchased a new wardrobe of comfortable, fashionable outfits for post-surgery and beyond. Nordstrom’s and the UGG brand should be very happy and I’ll feel better when I look the part of the fashion-forward patient in
orthopedics! Hip hip Hooray!
Post script: Nancy underwent a total hip replacement in December of
2016 and is happy to say she is no longer hobbling along. The
surgery was a success and her Nordstroms card is paid off!